Driving amendment - Americans have an easier time identifying members of TV's Simpson family than they do freedoms guaranteed by the U.S. constitution's First Amendment. Almost twice as many Americans can identify at least two members of the cartoon family as can identify more than one of the fundamental freedoms granted by the amendment. And many have peculiar and erroneous ideas about the constitution. Significant numbers believe they are guaranteed the right to drive a car and to own pets.
What?!? I don't know about you, but this really upsets me - and I'm not even American (although Big G is). Presumably all of the people in this study are adults who have completed at least high school, and yet they can't name more than one of the freedoms. People were willing to DIE in order to establish those very freedoms, and the average American doesn't know more than one?!? It's not like they were asking citizens for a 100-page discussion of the technical details of the constitution or something; just a simple awareness of a few of the freedoms granted to them by virtue of being blessed to live in the United States.
Honestly this is a perfect example of why I am considering homeschooling my kids - I want them to know and understand these things, not take them for granted. I want them to really learn, not just memorize facts and dates just long enough to spit it back out on that unit's exam. OK, this sounds totally cliched, but people 'these days' generally have no idea of the significance of historical events, and therefore of current events. Sure, they may by some fluke remember the dates of the American Revolution, but did they ever learn the importance of this event, or how it affected all of history that came after it? (Note: I certainly don't, but I recognize that as a serious flaw in my education - I am the classic example of memorizing and regurgitating facts with no real learning. I skipped tons of classes in high school, and don't understand the 'why' behind anything, but still had an average in the 90s, just by cramming and writing what I knew they wanted to hear.) I want more for my kids.